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Tajikistan shows support for Panjshir resistance

On Thursday, Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of his country’s independence awarded the order ‘Ismoili Somoni of the I degree’ on Ahmad Shah Massoud and also posthumously on former Afghan President Burhaniddin Rabbani.

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Dushanbe (Tajikistan): In an open gesture of support to the Afghan resistance movement in Panjshir province, Tajikistan has bestowed its highest honour posthumously on legendary Afghan leader Ahmad Shah Massoud, whose son is leading the fight against the Taliban in the northeastern Afghan province.

On Thursday, Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of his country’s independence awarded the order ‘Ismoili Somoni of the I degree’ on Ahmad Shah Massoud and also posthumously on former Afghan President Burhaniddin Rabbani.

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The decree reads that Rabbani was awarded the Order of “Ismoili Somoni I” for assistance and mediation in the negotiations between Tajiks in 1993-1996 and for his great contribution towards peace.

The decree “on awarding the former Minister of Defense of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, National Hero of Afghanistan Ahmad Shah Masood with the Order “Ismoili Somoni I degree” states that Massoud was awarded for assistance and mediation in the negotiations between Tajiks in 1993-1996.

The Order “Ismoili Somoni” is the highest state award of the Republic of Tajikistan and is awarded by the Decree of the President “to worthy persons for meritorious services”.

The award for Massoud comes as his son Ahmad Massoud along with Afghanistan’s caretaker president Amrullah Saleh is holding out against the Taliban in Panjshir, the only province that the Taliban have not been able to take over. Fierce fighting has been continuing for the past several days between the Taliban who have encircled the mountainous region, and Massoud’s National Resistance Front forces.

On August 25, in a statement made before visiting Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, President Emomali Rahmon had demanded that Tajiks should be given a major role to play in the new government as the ethnic group make up more than 46 percent of Afghanistan’s population.

Rahmon also said that Tajikistan will not recognize any government to be formed in Kabul “through oppression”.

Ethnic Tajiks are believed to be the second-largest ethnic group in Afghanistan, after the Pashtuns, and Ahmed Massoud, who is leading the resistance force in Panjshir in northeastern Afghanistan, is reportedly a Tajik.

There had been reports in Afghan media and social media that weapons and ammunition were being smuggled across the border into Panjshir from Tajikistan for Ahmed Massoud’s forces, but the Dushanbe government has denied this.

A few thousand Afghans, including soldiers, are said to have fled to Tajikistan during the Taliban takeover. The two countries share a 1,357-km border, which has six crossings, with five able to support automobile traffic.

The Order of Ismoili Somoni is made of silver and is an eight-pointed star. The edges of the star are yellow and the inner octagonal star is silver. In the center of the star is a medal with a prominent yellow image of King Ismoili Somoni, said a presidential statement.

In the circle of the medal, in blue, the inscription “Ismoili Somoni” in yellow letters is executed. At the bottom of the medal there are two yellow buds. The number is engraved on the back of the star. The ribbon of the Ismoili Somoni Order is a blue ribbon with a yellow stripe on the sides.

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